Woman in danger of ‘internal decapitation’ fights for her life as her family rushes to raise money for her lifesaving surgery

A British woman is trying to raise enough money to travel to the U.S. for what could very well be lifesaving treatment, the New York Post reported on Tuesday.

What are the details?

Rachel Pighillis, a 35-year-old woman from Worcestershire, was struck with a ceiling fan and ended up with a rare condition that doctors say could result in an internal decapitation.

Rachel and her family are now attempting to raise money to travel to a Long Island, New York, surgeon for a complicated procedure that will ideally stop that from happening.

The woman said that she suffered the injury while standing on her bed after moving into a new house in 2018.

The accident left Rachel with an atlantoaxial instability as well as a basilar invagination — a life-threatening condition, according to the report, in which her skull and brain have slipped into her spine. As a result, there is a bone protruding into her brain stem.

The Post added that Rachel can no longer turn her head at the wrong angle at a risk of her spine partially dislocating — an injury that could result in paralysis or internal decapitation.

Her husband, Guy, went into further detail of what happened after Rachel’s accident on the family’s GoFundMe page.

“In January 2020, Rachel underwent Occipital Spinal Fusion surgery in the UK,” he wrote. “Her skull was fixed to her spine with rods and screws, and a piece of bone from her skull and spine was removed to create more room for her brain. The surgeon assured us this procedure would relieve compression from her brainstem.”

“Sadly,” Guy continued, “this has not been the case, and we eventually learnt that Rachel’s surgery had failed.”

He pointed out that Rachel’s brain stem function at this level could “shut down completely at any time,” which would lead to brain stem death.

“Rachel needs to undergo a combination of very complex brain and spinal surgeries in order to SAVE HER LIFE!” he added. “We have consulted many specialists worldwide, with no success until now, however Dr Paolo Bolognese, a specialist Neurosurgeon based in New York is willing and able to carry to out the necessary surgeries.”

The Post reported that the surgery could total more than $650,000.

Rachel, who is now reportedly in respiratory failure, continues to deteriorate on a daily basis.

“The quicker we can raise the funds the more hope we have of her making a full recovery,” he added. “Rachel is now unable to leave the house unaided and has no quality of life. Rachel has always been the strongest, bravest and most selfless person I know. I wake up every morning terrified that she may have not made it through the night. Watching my wife suffer and dying before my eyes is soul destroying. Our daughter constantly worries that she may come home from school one day to find out she’s lost her Mum for good.”

The crowdfunding page has seen more than $65,000 in donations at the time of this reporting.

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